To demonstrate what a time-location aware app can do, mobile app developer Spotlight Mobile, with offices in Portland and San Francisco, worked with Powell’s Books as one of the first customers for its mobile app Meridian, launched earlier this week. With Meridian, which is available free at the iTunes store and can be downloaded via QR code on, customers can get turn-by-turn directions to navigate the store and find a specific title. They also have the option of buying a book online through and can see the day’s events, as well as a full events calendar, and browse featured titles, new favorites, and staff picks. Although the directions are for the 68,000 sq. ft. flagship store, the app shows what other Powell’s stores have inventory.

“We’re happy with the functionality,” says Powell’s president Emily Powell, who notes that it was a challenge given the amount of cement used in the store’s construction. While it’s too soon to tell what impact the app will have, she looks forward to having it work with Android devices as well. Currently Meridian is only compatible with iPhones.

“Places want to offer their customers mobile apps that do more than provide info you can get from their website—they want to offer helpful tools that only location-aware technologies can deliver,” said Kiyo Kubo, Spotlight’s CEO in a press release. Meridian is based on Spotlight’s 10-year experience developing apps for museums, parks, and brands, including Barnes & Noble.